Canine Play Groups & Minimizing Shelter Illness

Although open to everyone, shelter staff and volunteers in particular will be interested in these sessions at the 2016 Getting to the Goal conference.Register Now

Canine Play Groups – Play groups are a powerful tool for shelters to increase adoptions, provide enrichment and improve animals’ quality of life. Dogs who participate in play groups are much easier to adopt! For one thing, they have better kennel presentation because they are well exercised and more satisfied. But, how do you start one and what do you need to know to make sure you do it right? When Macomb County started using play groups, they prepared for the worst but found their concerns were unfounded. They have now shared their experience with Genesee County. Lisa Rabine and Amy Warner

How to minimize shelter illness and maximize shelter health – Welcome to 21st century sheltering! There are countless decisions that are made daily within a shelter that will contribute to the animals’ health and well-being. From the moment of intake to daily routine – each standard procedure can affect the animal’s health. When are vaccinations given? How are cages cleaned and with what? What is the cage size and where are they placed? What is an acceptable noise level? How much enrichment should be provided daily and what should it be? What is your capacity for humane care? Learn how well you are doing or where you might find change is needed. Dr. Jeff Fortna, DVM

Meet the presenters:

Jeff FortnaDr. Jeff Fortna graduated from veterinary school at Michigan State University in 2000.  As a newly minted veterinarian, he began his career in small animal private practice.  After five years in this traditional role, he branched out into other areas of meaningful veterinary work—teaching veterinary technician students and providing relief services at a municipal shelter.  Shortly thereafter, he accepted a permanent position with the municipal shelter where he learned about the successes and challenges of shelter practice.  Over his tenure working in shelter medicine, he has garnered a profound appreciation for the art and science that rests within this burgeoning field.  Dr. Fortna has endeavored to stay at the leading edge of this new discipline by completing the Maddie’s Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine.  He has gone on to become one of the first graduates to receive a master’s degree in shelter medicine at the University of Florida.  This training has broadened his knowledge and skills in shelter medicine, veterinary forensics, and public health.  His areas of professional interest include protocol development for animal shelters, disease outbreak management, public health and zoonotic diseases, and surgical proficiency in high volume caseloads.  Outside of work, one will find “Dr. Jeff” marathon training, drinking coffee, or being trained by his shelter rescue dog, Beans.


Lisa Rabine and Lucas

Lisa Rabine and Lucas

Lisa Rabine  is currently a Canine Trainer and Administrative Assistant for Macomb County Animal Control and Vice President on the Board and Lead Program Facilitator for Teacher’s Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together.  She has been with Teacher’s Pet ever since she started training dogs 10 years ago and started volunteering for MCAC while running a Teacher’s Pet Program at the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center.  She volunteered for MCAC for five years before being hired three years ago and has been heavily involved in reforming the shelter under Chief Randazzo. One of the programs she implemented at MCAC is the Dogs Play For Life canine play group program.  Since starting this program over a year ago, there has been a major difference in the dogs’ behavior in the shelter.  MCAC has shared this program with several other Michigan shelters and Lisa is very excited to keep sharing!








Amy Warner

Amy Warner

Amy Warner has found that her BBA in Marketing and Business Management has been a valuable tool in effectively raising funds and educating the public in responsible pet ownership.  Through her involvement with numerous rescues and organizations over the years, she has been instrumental in re-homing efforts and animal care and welfare.  She currently is the Volunteer Coordinator for Genesee County Animal Control and is very excited about coming in at a time when the future of Animal Control is being shaped to the benefit of the public, the animals, the volunteers and the staff.  Ask Amy about her travels with Sully.




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